Overtime thriller: Patriots knock off Morgan Academy in season opener

Published 11:00 pm Friday, August 17, 2018

Cody Hollis rumbled in for a 5-yard touchdown to give the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots a 20-14 win over the Morgan Academy Senators on Friday night in the season opener.

The Patriots returned the favor to Morgan on Friday night. The Senators knocked off the Trojans 20-14 last season.

“It was a very exciting start to the year,” said head coach Gene Allen. “I could tell we did a few things early and had jitters. Morgan played last week and that was a benefit for them. I felt like we had a good football team. We have some inexperienced guys. These guys played really hard tonight and they never quit.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Friday night’s hero Cody Hollis rushed for a total of 126 yards on eight carries and had two touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 37 yards.

“Cody is a phenomenal kid,” Allen said. “Kickoff returns, punt returns, offense and defense – he does it all. He gives you everything he has on every play. I wish I had 50 Cody Hollises on my team.”

Hollis battled fatigue throughout much of the game, but battled through.

“I just always want to finish,” Hollis said. “Even if I’m tired, I need to do it for my team.”

There wasn’t much scoring in the opening half, but big plays were plentiful between the Patriots and Senators.

The Senators took the opening drive of the game 69 yards for the season’s first touchdown. After a big 59-yard run by Ethan Cargill set the Senators up inside the 10-yard line, Holt Utsey punched the ball over the goal line from three yards out. The Senators missed the extra point, but they took a 6-0 lead with 8:33 remaining in the opening quarter.

The Senators had another big play on their very next drive. Mason Perkins caught a pass for a 53-yard gain, once again setting the Senators up inside the 10 at the four-yard line.

The Patriots held however to keep the score at 6-0.

Both teams traded three-and-outs on their next drives. The Patriots had their first lengthy drive of the game to begin the second quarter, but couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. They had a wide-open Tristen Carter inside the 10-yard line, but Jade Sikes’ pass couldn’t be corralled.

Cody Hollis was arguably the Patriots most valuable player in the opening half. He took a Sikes hand off 60-yards for the Patriots’ first touchdown of the season, giving them a 7-6 lead with 7:12 left in the opening half.

On the Senators’ next drive, Hollis leaped and picked off a pass, ending another Senator drive inside Patriot territory.

Hollis finished the half with approximately 61 yards rushing on just four carries.

The second half started slow when it came to points. The Patriots looked to increase their lead after Hollis returned a punt 57 yards to the Senators 20-yard line. On the very first play of the drive, Ed Williams picked off a Sikes pass in the end zone.

After holding the Senators on their next drive. The Senator snap sailed over their punter’s head, giving the Patriots possession on the Morgan 19-yard line.

Two plays later, Sikes rumbled in from three yards out to give the Patriots a 14-7 lead.

The Senators quickly dialed down the Patriot enthusiasm when Utsey scored his second touchdown of the game on a 37-yard touchdown run. Ed Williams hauled in a pass, converting the two-point conversion to even the score at 14 with 11:40 remaining in regulation.

With just one second remaining in regulation, Senator kicker Pierson Atchison missed a 42-yard field goal to send the game into overtime.

The Patriots held the Senators to a three-and-out in the first possession of overtime. After a 5-yard run by Sikes, Hussey became the hero with his 5-yard romp to the end zone.

“I saw a crease and I hit it,” Hollis said. “I lowered my shoulders and I tried to get into the end zone.”

Williams of Morgan Academy finished the game with 77 yards of rushing on eight carries and also caught 7 passes for 66 yards.

Friday night’s game was the fourth time in a row that the game between the two schools were decided by single digits.

The Patriots will be back in action next Friday night when they travel to Luverne to take on Crenshaw Christian. The Senators will once again be on the road when they travel to take on Edgewood Academy.